The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

By: Leah Prescott

I have mentioned before how much I strive (struggle?) to organize our home. I’ve read a few books on this topic and from each I have gleaned some helpful tidbits. When I heard about the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo I immediately got on the coverwaiting list for a copy from the library. I was intrigued by the title as well as its overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon. It’s apparently very popular, so I had to wait over a month to read it on my Kindle.

I thought I would give a review with some of the main points of the book. I felt like this book had some great information, but could have been written much more concisely. Like most books in the genre, I take what I like and disregard the information that I don’t find valuable. Readers should be aware that Marie Kondo addresses inanimate objects as if they have feelings and even delves into reincarnation as a part of her philosophy. Although I disagree with these ideas fundamentally, I don’t mind reading about them. At the very least, I found it interesting from a social perspective.

Marie’s philosophy begins with decluttering on a massive scale; attacking one category at a time in a specific order. She advocates holding each item in hand and asking the question: “Does this bring me joy?” If you are searching for detailed organizational tips, this book probably doesn’t fit the bill. However, if you are seeking inspiration for a major life-change, this book will inspire you. I realized immediately that if I evaluated items by this criterion, the process of purging would be vastly simplified. At the same time, I am afraid I might be left with almost no clothing if I attacked my closet this way!

Another thing I loved about this book, is that Kondo teaches that tidying is a one-time event, rather than a lifetime pursuit. This resonates with me because I am so weary of the constant process of decluttering and reorganizing. According to the book, purging so ruthlessly allows the home to be filled only with loved and used objects. The happy result is a simplified life-style that calls for minimal cleaning. The home doesn’t have to be neatened because everything is naturally put away and the absence of clutter leaves a surplus of time and energy. Sounds good, right?

Perhaps the most important thing that I personally took away from reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is that keeping or discarding objects should not be guided by guilt. So often I find myself paralyzed by a guilty conscience. I feel guilty that I have purchased things that we didn’t need. I feel guilty that clutter and housework are piling up. And, I feel guilty that my time is sucked up by these often trivial objects. This book really shows how simplifying a household can lead to more freedom and less guilt. And I am all for that.

This spring, my family is gearing up for a big yard sale as a way of de-cluttering our home. I have already been preparing for this event for several weeks and intend to be much more ruthless about adding to the “yard sale pile” now that I have read this book. I’m looking forward to more breathing room and less housework as a result. If you want to have a yard sale, this is a great time of year to hold one!

My next blog post will include all my best yard sale tips and tricks, so stay tuned.

Do Something

By: Shannon Shull

Well, this amazing society of women I belong to has managed to do it again! The Batesburg-Leesville Women’s Society in South Carolina hosted a lovely event that not only helped raise funds for two amazing organizations, The Epworth Children’s Home and Sistercare, they also inspired and empowered women with a great message. Under Mrs. Lois Black’s direction, they hosted a lovely PJs and Pearls event. Ladies of all ages – daughters, granddaughters, grandmothers, mothers, aunts, dear friends and colleagues, you name it – enjoyed incredible food, fellowship and entertainment, all the while raising money and awareness for two important causes and enjoying the comfort of getting to wear their pjs!

Batesburg-Leesville Women’s Society

I had the honor and privilege of performing at the event, singing a slower version of Sia’s song, “Chandelier,” accompanied by my amazing mother, Robin Vaughan Parler on keyboard, my fabulous colleague, Amy Reynolds, on violin, one of her lovely orchestra students, Riley Pratt, on cello and one of my brilliant honors drama students, McKenna Pratt, dancing. It was a touching piece that shed light on physical and emotional abuse. I also had the honor of presenting a very inspirational video that was edited by my awesome sister, Chelsea Vaughan Parler.

Batesburg-Leesville Women’s Society

All of our hard work paid off and I can only hope that the audience received our message of inspiration and empowerment! I often ask myself why I tend to overwhelm myself with work and activities that keep me so busy, but it’s events like these that remind me of the importance of getting involved, doing something, and sharing my talents.

Batesburg-Leesville Women’s Society

I’ve chosen to share the inspirational video with you Every Woman Blog readers because I know you all will hear the message, be inspired and hopefully get out there and do something! :)

Please do watch the video, you won’t regret it!

There is Good in the Valley

By: Chaunte McClure

Wouldn’t it be nice if all was always well in our lives? If every time someone asked you how you’re doing, the automatic response that you’re fine or doing well was absolutely true? Sorry, not on this side.

valley

The reality is some days are good, some are bad and some are an absolute nightmare. I’m going to refer to those not-so-good days as valleys or valley experiences. While we won’t always have mountaintop experiences, there is joy in knowing that trouble won’t last forever. If you’re having a valley experience at this moment, perhaps that is not encouraging enough, because you’d rather God just pull you out of the valley right now. Matter of fact, you wish He had done it yesterday.

Can I be transparent with you? I am coming out the valley right now and I’ve shared those sentiments. There are three truths that have sustained me: growth happens in the valley, God is working it out for good, and I can’t let God down. The latter two are what I’ve held onto most.

Some of my best sermons and speeches have evolved from valley experiences. This is going to sound out of the ordinary, but the immature (or maybe, young) preacher in me at one time longed for another valley experience because of the impact those public addresses had on others, thanks to God’s divine power. (Insert face palm here.) Okay God, that’s enough. But seriously, growth happens in the valley and I obviously recognized that from previous experience. You should always come out stronger than you were before the valley and the experience should affirm who God is, because not only have you read about Him and believed His Word in faith, now you have experienced Him. Warning: He may have to remind you again.

It’s in those valley experiences when we learn more about ourselves, we’re drawn closer to God, we pray more, and we read the Word more. In the midst of me asking God, “Why me?” and telling him it’s not fair and how wrong it is of those who caused this to happen to me, I can’t help but believe that God is working things out for good and for His glory. He did it for Joseph. It’s a very familiar story but we sometimes overlook the application. Joseph’s brothers hated him and were jealous of him because they thought their father treated Joseph better than them. The brothers sold Joseph into slavery and he was eventually thrown into prison on false charges. In the midst of the brothers’ evil deed, God was at work making provision for the famine that was to come.

Your suffering has a divine purpose! That’s what gives me hope, but the challenging part is continuing to trust God while good comes out of the situation and fighting the urge for pay back. (Ladies, you know “they say” we can be vindictive.) God has His hands on me and He has His hands on you. Remember what Joseph said to His bothers in Genesis 50:20: “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” The situation you are going through can help save others, so go through it. You can’t let God down because divine purpose involves God, who is using you to reach others.

LexMed Heart & Sole Women’s Five Miler

The Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Five Miler is just over a week away, and this year’s event promises to be better than ever!

 

Need additional motivation to help you finish the last leg of your training plan? In addition to the event’s signature red rose, everyone who crosses the finish line will receive a beautiful custom-designed medal. Second, Edible Arrangements will provide this year’s post-race treat. Their delicious gourmet berries will make crossing the finish line even sweeter!

After the event, be sure to join Dawndy Mercer Plank and other WIS-News 10 personalities in Finlay Park at the Lexington Medical Center Heart & Sole Health & Wellness Expo featuring health screenings and local vendors. The event will have plenty of massage therapists on hand to help your muscles relax and recover after the event!

So come on out April 25 and be a part of this year’s event. Bring your mother, your sister and your girlfriends! We’re counting on you to call greater attention to the number one killer of women—heart disease. Whether you’re a longtime runner or a brand new walker on the road to a healthier life, we welcome you with arms wide open to an experience you’ll always remember!

Helicopter or Ambulance?

By: Lara Winburn

With spring, we get pretty days, yellow pollen and a lot more time to play outside. We head to every park in town after work and on the weekends before the heat of summer is upon us and those slides burn baby bums. But with that park time, to me, there comes a conundrum.

When my daughter was 2, she was Captain Cautious. I would hold her hand as she carefully and slowly climbed equipment and I caught her at the end of every slide. I hovered because she wanted me to. I kept her safe.

Cut to my little Wildman, my 2-year-old, who climbs everything with no fear, no trepidation. He giggles and he goes. So are you a helicopter that hovers around every monkey bar trying Helicopter parentto save teeth and limbs OR do you just let them learn on their own and risk a trip in an ambulance?

I may have mentioned before that I broke my arm four times before I was 18. I was a bit of a daredevil so the helicopter hovering would have been to no avail. I needed to try… and fall… and break… in order to learn that some tricks WERE a bad idea. But what is the right balance? I want my kids, whether it is in the park or on the ball field or in the classroom, to be independent and brave but I do not want to watch them fall if hovering could have softened the fall. I do not want them to be afraid to try new things or climb to new heights and explore what their little bodies are capable of. I do not want them to be whiny and dependent because I was that mom that held a safety net under the swing set. It is a balance indeed.

And it seems to me, this is just the beginning of this whole helicopter/ambulance parenting dilemma. I may not survive elementary age, pre-teen, or, heaven help me, the teenage years – when you have to choose to be a helicopter about friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, and academics. Or when you have to just wait and become a paramedic when the heartbreak happens.

What do you think? Helicopter or ambulance? Seems you run a risk either way.

#MPBStrong

Last week we shared that our friend and Every Woman Blogger, Mary Pat Baldauf, suffered a serious brain aneurysm. We wanted to share our support for Mary Pat during her road to recovery.

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Katie Austin – #MPBStrong

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Leah Prescott – #MPBStrong

A note of encouragement from Brady Evans and her son, Benjamen!

A note of encouragement from Brady Evans and her son, Benjamin! #MPBStrong

MPB Strong

Chaunte McClure – #MPBStrong

Crissie Kirby and her sons - #MPBStrong

Crissie Kirby and family – #MPBStrong

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Shannon Shull – #MPBStrong

Would you like to send a message of encouragement to Mary Pat? Simply write down your message, snap a photo or a selfie with it, and tag it with the hashtag, #MPBStrong. It be wonderful to let Mary Pat know that her Every Woman Blog family is rooting her on through recovery!

Summer Hair “Hacks”

By: Leah Prescott

With all the humidity in the air, it’s time us girls pulled out some of our best hair tricks. I have mentioned before that my 8-year-old girls have extremely curly hair. In fact, their hair is so curly that it’s not unusual to find random objects tangled up in there. No lie….once I found a Christmas Ornament hook in some of these curls. After years of practice I have found some tips that really work for curly hair. And whether your hair is curly or straight, these are great ideas for easy summer hair styles.

curly hair tips

Before I get into those let me show you a before and after with Twin A and Twin B. This is before conditioning and brushing with the Tangle Teezer, and then the nice soft conditioned after! It’s an amazing tool to have in your mommy kit. Now a few more ideas!

sock bun

Sock bun: this is something I wish I had learned much sooner. This is an easy, comfortable method of making the perfect big bun. You need a sock, a couple of hair ties, and hair pins. Cut the toe off the sock and roll it into a donut shape. Next, put your hair into a ponytail with a rubber band. Then, place your donut around the tip of the ponytail and slowly roll the hair around the sock all the way up to your head. (If you ever make socks into balls when matching them, it’s really the same motion. Honestly, it’s much easier than it sounds!) Last secure with a few pins and hair spray if needed. Done!

summer hair tips

Two strand twist. This is a quick, easy way to deal with bangs that are growing out or to just go bang free for a day. First, part your bangs to one side and comb them well. Then, start twisting two strands of hair together, moving across your forehead. Add a small piece of hair to your front strand before each twist to anchor the “braid.” This is basically like a French braid, but with only two pieces. Simply pin the twist to secure it. Again, this is much easier than it sounds!

heat free curls

Headband curls. This is my new favorite way of getting quick, heat-free curls overnight. All you need is a soft headband and curl spray (I use Not Your Mother’s Beach Bum Sea Salt Spray). Comb your hair out and lightly spritz your hair with the curl spray. Then place the headband OVER your forehead and hair like a crown. Starting on one side, grab a piece of hair and twist it. Then you will wrap the twist over the headband. Then you will add a bit more hair to that piece, twist again, and wrap over again. You will continue twisting and wrapping until you get to the back of your head. Then you will repeat for the other side. I usually just take those last two strands in the back and just twist them up any which way. Then go to bed. When you wake up your hair is in natural, beachy curls! It really works!

I hope you enjoy trying some of these!